My mother passed on the faith, and could she cook!

aymond    Mother’s Day is Sunday. What do you recall about your mother Yvonne?
    My mother was a great woman of faith. It was obvious to me that she reflected the radical and loving faith of her mother. I’m fortunate to be able to say that my mother and my grandmother were women I looked up to, not only for their faith but also for the way in which they lived their lives as kind and generous people and the way they put family first.
    Did your grandmother live close to you?
    My grandmother lived with my aunt and uncle about three blocks away.
    Would your mother take you to Mass when you were an altar server at St. James Major?
    She would always bring me to church and stay for Mass. She was involved in the parents’ group at St. James Major School and always volunteered in the school for whatever activities were needed.
    Of course, you were the perfect child and never had to be disciplined.
    That’s untrue.
    What would you do to get on your mother’s nerves?
    I would aggravate and tease my sisters or not do my household tasks – not put the garbage out on time. Or, when it was my turn to do the dishes, I would often try to pawn it off on one of my sisters.
    Did your mother teach you to cook?
    I wish she had. She was a great cook, and I guess that’s one of the reasons I never learned to cook because I was spoiled in that regard. She was such a great cook. I remember my mother and dad both being very, very hospitable people. Our front door was always open, not only to relatives but also to neighbors and friends and to people they worked with. My parents showed me how to treat people with hospitality and generosity.
    Would you play in the streets until it was time for dinner?
    We played in the streets all the time, and we sat on the front porch and had a lot of fun times. On Piedmont Drive where I grew up, we were very close to and friendly with other families. There was a closeness in our neighborhood. We would certainly be there for one another if anyone was sick or in trouble or had family problems. That’s certainly still true in some neighborhoods today, but quite often you hear of neighborhoods where people hardly know their neighbors. Some people today tend to live their own isolated lives and don’t extend themselves as much into the community.
    What does Mother’s Day mean to you?
    Perhaps motherhood is not seen with the same value as it may have had in past generations. But Mother’s Day is an opportunity to give thanks to God for our mothers, living and deceased. For those mothers who are still living, we need to thank them for their sacrificial lives. They have shared in the creative work of God and they share in the life of Mary in their motherhood. We should never take our mothers for granted. Mother’s Day also is an opportunity to honor not just our biological mothers but those mothers who have adopted children and those who have foster children. There also are women who are mother figures for us even though they are not directly related to us. Single mothers also have their challenges, and we need to support them.
It’s important that we see motherhood as a vocation within a vocation. Marriage certainly is a vocation, and within that vocation of marriage, a mother in a particular way embraces the vocation to parenthood. At confirmations, I always express gratitude to parents, because one of the great privileges of Christian parenthood is sharing the faith with their son or daughter. Because they have shared their faith with their son or daughter, I have the privilege to confirm them and to be able to share in that faith. We recently held a day for vocations called “Calling All 5th Graders.” We know that most children will be called to marriage and family life. That’s certainly a blessed way of life because it’s a sacrament. Some will be called to the single life or to the priesthood or religious life. But the possibility of a religious vocation is something we want to hold up for children. Mothers are so influential in this regard.
    As you mentioned with your own mother, the church has benefitted greatly from the gifts of women.
    The church is grateful for the important contributions of women. We should never take for granted the significant influence of a mother within a family, of a single woman in the workplace or of a mother in the parish community. We have so many women who serve as catechists, youth leaders, volunteers and teachers in our schools. Our church is very dependent upon and appreciative of the contributions of women.
    Questions for Archbishop Aymond may be sent to

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